Over 190 clergy condemn Westminster Abbey's nuclear deterrent service

Tue 30 Apr 2019
By Heather Preston

A statement signed by nearly 200 Anglican clergy urges Westminister Abbey to cancel it's a service marking 50 years of the UK's nuclear deterrent at sea. 

The service, due to be held on Friday 3rd May, is invitation-only and will 'recognise fifty years of continuous at sea deterrent' according to Westminster Abbey's website. 

The Royal Navy are planning a series of events to 'celebrate' the patrols of submariners since 1969. 

However, the Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament states the event should not go ahead as it is at odds with the Church of England's policy to "work tirelessly" for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

General Secretary for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Kate Hudson told Premier: "Many people feel that it's absolutely inappropriate that weapons of mass destruction are being thanked for in a place of worship.

"Weapons of mass destruction are indiscriminate killers, if they were ever used that would be contrary to international humanitarian law.

"Hundreds of thousands if not millions of innocent civilians would be killed."

The organisation says the government is also ignoring its obligations to the International Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) - a treaty signed by the UK in 1968 agreeing to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons worldwide.

"Round about the time that these patrols came on the stream 50 years ago, Britain had also just signed up to the NPT saying that we would be getting rid of our nuclear weapons.

"And of course, we haven't done that. And in fact, we're now on to building our third nuclear weapons system.

"It shows that not only are we out of step with current global thinking, which in its majority is backing a nuclear ban treaty. We're also out of step with our 50 year long commitment to get rid of our nuclear weapons.

In a statement to Premier, Westminster Abbey said the service is one of prayer for peace rather than a celebration of weapons.


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